Hamilton Journal News : 2019-02-11
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A5 MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2019 | JOURNAL-NEWS | COMPLETE. IN-DEPTH. DEPENDABLE. NATION& WORLD AFGHANISTAN VIRGINIA Embattled governor ‘not going anywhere’ U.S. airstrikes said to kill at least 10 civilians Northamsays his moralitymakes him rightman to lead. Taliban operations center in Sangin was targeted. not provide the number of troops in the operation or the type of aircraft involved.
A statement issued by the Helmand province media officesaid four civilianswere killed and two wounded in an airstrike. The statement said the airstrike targetedTaliban insurgents firing from a house.
Aziz Ahmad Azizi, a spokesman for the governor of adjacent Kandahar province, said 25 Taliban fighters were killed and 10 captured during the operation. Azizi said he could not confirm reports of civilian deaths or injuries.
Civilian casualties have dogged the U. S. military effort for much of the war, now in its 18th year. American commanders say they follow strict procedures to try to ensure no civilians are present before airstrikes are authorized. They also accuse insurgents of using civilians as shields.
But human rights groups say U.S. and Afghan government forces are not always rigorous in trying to avoid civilian casualties and do not always conduct thorough investigations after attacks. In recent months, more civilians have been in harm’s way as the U.S. military has ramped up attacks against Taliban insurgents, part of an effort to give American negotiators leverage in peace talks with the Taliban.
American and Afghan commandosmore than doubled the number of joint raids conducted from September to early February, compared with the same five-monthperiod a year earlier. Last year, U.S. aircraft dropped 7,632 bombs, missiles and othermunitions in Afghanistan, up from 4,361 in 2017 and 1,337 the year before.
The most recent U. N. report said civilian deaths from airstrikes rose 39 percent during the first nine months of 2018 compared with the same period the year before.
The United Nations attributed 51 percent of airstrike casualties to U. S. aircraft and 38 percent to Afghan military aircraft. Responsibilityfortheremainder could notbedetermined.
According to the United Nations, 65 percent of all civilian casualties were attributed to insurgents. ByAlanSuderman DavidZucchinoand TaimoorShah AssociatedPress Virginia’s Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam considered resigning amid a scandal that he once wore blackface, but the pediatric neurologist said Sunday that he’s “not going anywhere” because the state “needs someone that can heal” it.
Northam made the comments on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” saying it’s been a difficult week since a racist photo in his 1984 medical school yearbook surfaced, showing a person wearing blackface next to a second person wearing a Ku Klux Klan hood and robe. Northaminitially said hewas theonein blackface, but then denied it the next day, while acknowledging that he did wear blackface to a dance party that same year.
“Virginia needs someone that can heal. There’s no better person to do that than a doctor,” Northam said. “Virginia also needs someone who is strong, who has empathy, who has courage and who has a moral compass. And that’swhy I’m not going anywhere.”
Northam’s political turmoil comes as the two other top Democrats in the state face their own potentially career-ending scandals, with allegations of sexual assault against Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax — Northam’s successor if the governorweretoresign— and Attorney General MarkHerring acknowledging that he wore blackface at a party in 1980. Herringwouldbecome governor if both Northam and Fairfax resigned.
Thescandalshavebecome a full-blowncrisis forVirginia Democrats. Although the party has taken an almost zero-tolerance approach to misconduct among itsmembers in this #MeToo era, a housecleaning in Virginia could be costly: If all three Democratsresigned, RepublicanstateHouse Speaker Kirk Coxwouldbecomegovernor.
The scandals also could hurt theDemocrats’ chances of flipping controlof theGeneral Assembly. All 140 legislative seats will be up for grabs inNovemberandDemocrats had previously been RICHMOND, VA. — ©2019TheNewYorkTimes — At least 10 civilians were killed and several others werewounded over the weekend during U. S. airstrikes in southern Afghanistan, local officials and residents inHelmand province said Sunday.
Two residents of the Sangin district of Helmand said eight members of a single familywere killed by airstrikes in one house and two more in a nearby structure, among them women and children. MohammadHasim Alokozai, a member of parliament from Helmand, put the death toll higher, saying in an interview that 14 civilianswere killed and six wounded in the two houses.
A local resident, Aslam Khan, said the home of his brother, Assti Khan, in the Sangin district, was fired upon by a helicopter when he switched on a flashlight to find his shoes. The shots killed Assti Khan’s 10-yearoldsonand3-year-olddaughter and wounded his wife and 18-year- old daughter, his brother said in a telephone interview.
A U. S. military spokeswoman in Kabul said that U.S. aircraft had conducted airstrikes inthe province late Friday night and early Saturdaymorning, but that she could not confirm or deny that civilians had been killed. The spokeswoman, Sgt. 1st Class Debra Richardson, said military officials were looking into the episode.
A Sangin resident, Haji Mohammad Dawoud, said Taliban fighters had fired from a building next to the home of a local man, Nader Shah, whose eight family members were said to have died.
Richardson said a joint team of Afghan and American commandos had conducted an operation targeting a Taliban operations center in Sangin, an insurgent stronghold. She said airstrikes were called in after a Taliban insurgent fired at Afghan and American forces from a structure in a civilian area.
Richardson said she could KABUL Gov. RalphNorthamwatches as the casket of fallen Virginia State Trooper Lucas B. Dowell is carried to awaiting tactical vehicle Saturday during the funeral at the Chilhowie Christian Church in Chilhowie. Dowellwas killed in the line of duty earlier in theweek. ItwasNortham’s first public appearance in aweek. STEVE HELBER / AP ‘Virginia needs someone that can heal. There’s no better person to do that than a doctor.’ Fairfax called on authorities, including the FBI, to conduct a full investigation.
“Frankly, we really want any entity with comprehensive investigative power to thoroughly look into these accusations,” Fairfax spokeswoman Lauren Burke said. “There needs to be verification of basic facts about these allegations. It feels like something bigger is going on here.”
Northam’s pledge Sunday to work on healing the state’s racial divide was the second he made in as many days. In his first interview since the scandal erupted, a chastened governor told The WashingtonPostonSaturday that the uproar has pushed him to confront the state’s deep and lingering divisions over race, aswell as his own insensitivity. But he said that reflectionhas convincedhim that, by remaining in office, he canwork to resolve them.
“It’s obvious from what happened thisweek thatwe still have a lot ofwork to do,” Northam said in the interview, conducted at the Executive Mansion. “There are still some very deepwounds in Virginia, and especially in the area of equity.”
Also Saturday, Northam made his first official public appearance since he denied being in the photo, attending the funeral for a state trooper killed in a shootout. But he made no public comments. Ralph Northam Virginia’s Democratic governor whether theywant toremain in office. He said he supports Fairfax’s call for an investigation into the sexual assault allegations. Of Herring, he said that “just like me, he has grown.”
Democratic Del. Patrick Hope said hewants to introducearticlesofimpeachment against Fairfax on Monday, but Hope is not a powerful figure and there’s little sign there’s a broad appetite for impeachmentwith thisyear’s legislative session overby the end of the month.
If a hearing did occur, attorneys for both of the women accusing Fairfax — Meredith Watson and Vanessa Tyson — say they would be willing to testify. The Associated Press does not generally name victims of alleged sexual assault, but bothwomen have come forward voluntarily.
Watson alleges that Fairfax raped her while they were students at Duke University in 2000, her attorney said in a statement. Tyson, a California college professor, alleges thatFairfax forcedher to perform oral sex on him at a Boston hotel in 2004.
While denying the allegations, hopeful that voter antipathy toward President Donald Trumpwould help them cement Virginia’s status as a blue state. Now many fret their current crisis in leadership will not only cost them chancesof winningGOP-held seats, but also several seats currently heldbyDemocrats.
Twowomenallege Fairfax sexually assaulted them, and both have offered to testify if an impeachment hearing were called against him. The lieutenant governor issued a statement Saturday again denying he ever sexually assaulted anyone and making clear he does not intend to immediately step down. Instead, he urged authorities to investigate the allegations against him.
Herring has apologized for appearing in blackface — an admission he made after rumors began circulating at the Capitol — but has not indicated he would resign either, despite his initially forceful call for Northam to step down.
AskedSunday for his opinion on his subordinates, Northam said in the CBS interviewthat it’s up to Fairfax and Herring to decide IN-DEPTHCOVERAGE Parents question whether shooting drills traumatize kids » » said Sullivan, whose daughter declined to be interviewed by The Associated Press but described the drill for Richmond television stationWWBTa fewdays later.
“I thought Iwas probably going to die that day,” she said. “We hear the door handle jiggling up and downand then we see the door open, and it’s our resource officer telling us it’s a drill.”
When her son’s school fired blanks during a drill, Adams questionedwhether it was really necessary to expose childrento the sound of gunfire. Others complained that such realistic exercises can take a toll on classroomlearning evenafter the drills are done.
Mo Canady, executive director of the school resource officers’ group, recommends districts save the most intense exercises for staff only. As the decision-makers, he said, “they need to know a little more what that’s going tofeel like.”
For students, lower-stress drills that have them listening to instructions and running through the motions, like traditional fire drills, should be the focus, he said.
“We need to be as prepared as we can,” Canady said, “but it doesn’t mean that we’ve got to terrify students to get themprepared.” evacuate.
“To me, this just seems like an indirect admission on the part of the schools that they really have no control overwho gets into the building, and the school security officer isn’t enough to keep the place safe sowe need to hold the kids accountable for doing it,” she said.
In 2014, theNational Association of School Psychologists and the National Association of School Resource Officersissuedjoint guidance that cautioned that while drills have the potential to save lives, those “not conducted appropriately” can cause “physical and psychological harm to students, staff and the overall learning environment.”
After public criticism of the unannounced Short Pump drill and others, the Virginia House of Delegates last month considered, but defeated, legislation requiring schools to give parents advance notification. The bill’s Democratic sponsor, Schuyler VanValkenburg, a high school teacher, said opponents argued that the heads- up would hinder safety by letting students take it less seriously.
“I think that’s baloney. They’re very aware ofwhat can happen in this day and age. They all see the news. They all see social media,” ByCarolynThompson MORE DETAILS AssociatedPress Thirty-nine states require lockdown, active-shooteror similar safety drills. Otherstates have less explicit requirements or leave it to districts, according to the Education Commission of theStates. A Mississippi task force has proposed twiceyearly active-shooter drills.
But even as the drills becomeroutine for manyof the nation’s51 million elementaryand secondary public school students, there is no consensus on howthey shouldbe conducted, experts said. Nodata exists, forexample, to showwhethera drill with simulated gunfire ismore effective or whetheran exercise that’s been announced in advance is taken less seriously than a surprise. — Long before an ex- student opened fire on his former classmates in Parkland, Florida, many school districts conducted regular shooting drills — exercises that sometimes included simulated gunfire and blood and often happened with nowarning that the attack wasn’t real.
The drills began taking shape after the Columbine High School shooting in 1999. But 20 years later, parents are increasingly questioning elements of the practice, includingwhether the drills traumatize kids.
April Sullivan was pleasantly surprised by an “I love you, Mom” text from her daughter lastMay, even though she knew the eighthgraderwasn’t supposed tobe using her cellphone during school in Short Pump, Virginia. But she did not know that her child sent it while supposedly hiding from an intruder. Thegirl didn’tknow the “code blue” alert was a drill.
“To find out later she sent that text because shewas in fear for her life did not sit well with me,” Sullivan said.
Henrico County Public Schools have since changed theway they conduct drills, making clear at the start that BUFFALO, N.Y. Members of theWashington County Sheriff’sOffice and theHudson Falls Police Department use unloaded guns to take part in an emergency drill as theywalk through a corridor inside the Hudson Falls Primary School in Hudson Falls, N.Y. ASSOCIATED PRESS the door and crouching quietly out of sight became the norm. In 2013, the Department of Education recommended giving staff latitude to evacuate, barricade classroom doors or, as a last resort, fight back by throwing things or rushing the attacker.
“Do you really want it to be your kid who’s the one who takes the bullet and winds up with a plaque in the lobby of the school sayinghewentdownas a hero?” asked Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, parentNanetteAdams, who disagreed with the decision to adopt a widely used the events are not real and notifying parents as the drill begins or right after, district spokesmanAndy Jenks said.
The backlash underlines the challenges administrators face in deciding how far to go in the name of preparedness.
“Some hard data on each question are needed with urgency,” said University at Buffalo professor Jeremy Finn, who gathered experts from around the country to evaluate school security measures at a conference in Washington, D.C., inOctober.
After Columbine, lockdowns that involved bolting ASSOCIATED PRESS safety protocol during a September drill at her 15-yearold son’s high school. The protocol is knownas ALICE, which stands for alert, lockdown, inform, counter and PRINTED AND DISTRIBUTED BY PRESSREADER PressReader.com +1 604 278 4604 ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY . ORIGINAL COPY COPYRIGHT AND PROTECTED BY APPLICABLE LAW
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